December 2021: Top 10 Texas Local Officials

We have compiled a list of what we believe to be the Top 10 Texas local officials who showed extraordinary leadership in the month of December.

#1 Bill Magers

Grayson County Judge | Sherman, TX

County Judge Bill Magers has stepped in for the cities of Dorchester and Sherman to help prevent a proposed cement plant from being built which will negatively impact air quality. Black Mountain, LLC has applied to the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality to build a plant that would straddle both cities’ extraterritorial jurisdictions. County Judge Magers responded to residents’ concerns by securing commissioners court’s approval to hire attorneys to halt the plant’s construction. Judge Magers said Grayson County’s current air quality sets it apart from others in the region and the planned cement plant could adversely affect the county’s economic prospects.

#2 Baine Brooks

Councilmember of Allen | Allen, TX

Councilmember Baine Brooks supported community efforts to preserve Ross Cemetery where enslaved people, Buffalo Soldiers and Black veterans are buried. The cemetery’s disrepair motivated Councilmember Brooks and other community leaders to organize a cleanup of the land. Their efforts garnered significant community attention, resulting in multiple cleanups, several thousand dollars in donated fencing and the presentation of the Historic Texas Medallion from the Collin County Historical Commission.

#3 Trish DeBerry

Bexar County Commissioner | San Antonio, TX

Commissioner Trish DeBerry tasked staff with creating a parental leave policy for Bexar County employees. Currently, county employees must use their accumulated sick leave and vacation days to spend time with their newborn or newly adopted children. Commissioner DeBerry argued that employees should not have to creatively manage their paid time off in order to raise a family. Commissioner DeBerry has since resigned to run for county judge.

#4 Barbara Canales

Nueces County Judge | Corpus Christi, TX

County Judge Barbara Canales proposed to further delay the controversial split of the joint health district from the city of Corpus Christi. Judge Canales pleaded with the city for an additional six months to develop a transition plan. The health district’s funding, consisting of grants from both the city and the county, will be in jeopardy if a smooth transition plan is not established. Judge Canales believes a rushed process also will negatively impact the livelihoods of health district employees and the health of county residents.

Read more about Judge Canales’ accomplishments here.

#5 Tennell Atkins

Councilmember of Dallas | Dallas, TX

Dallas Councilmember Tennell Atkins announced the launch of a new Economic Development Corporation in Dallas. Councilmember Atkins, who serves on the city’s Economic Development Committee, said the proposed corporation will be better positioned to attract additional business to the city than a city department. He says the Economic Development Corporation will help streamline business recruitment efforts for the city.

#6 Greg Casar

Councilmember of Austin | Austin, TX

Councilmember Greg Casar sponsored the Comprehensive Civil Rights Ordinance which was approved by City Council. The ordinance provides the Office of Civil Rights with enforcement power to pursue unlawful employment practices involving sexual harassment and discrimination based on race and gender identity. Councilmember Casar, who was involved in the office’s creation, highlighted the city’s efforts to protect residents’ civil rights. Councilmember Casar has since resigned his seat to run for state senate.

Read more about Councilmember Casar’s accomplishments here.

#7 Mayor Linda Owens

Mayor of Bruceville-Eddy | Bruceville-Eddy, TX

Mayor Linda Owens, alongside other Bruceville-Eddy residents, worked to help Renee Pace and her adult son with cerebral palsy son who have been without running water since the February 2021 winter freeze. After confirming the family’s water shutoff was not caused by the city, Mayor Owens and volunteers made repairs to pipes and the roof and replaced the water heater, air-conditioning and heating unit at no cost to the family. Other concerned Eddy residents donated additional resources to ensure the family had basic necessities for Christmas. 

#8 Brigid Shea

Travis County Commissioner | Austin, TX

Travis County Commissioner Brigid Shea attended and spoke at a ceremony in celebration of the purchase of over 3,000 acres of land in the Hamilton Pool Road corridor, as part of a conservation project. With Travis County’s infrastructure growing at a rapid pace, Commissioner Shea believes it is important to preserve irreplaceable natural areas like Hamilton Pool. Commissioner Shea stated in a press release that Travis County’s purchase of the conservation easements, with the help of voter approval for its funding, will restrict development in the area while allowing residents and visitors to enjoy the outdoors.

#9 Mackenzie Kelly

Councilmember of Austin | Austin, TX

Councilmember Mackenzie Kelly was the lone vote against continuing Austin’s COVID-19 safety protocols which require individuals older than two to wear masks in schools and city buildings. Councilmember Kelly said the availability of effective vaccines has significantly improved residents’ ability to fight the virus, compared to when the ordinance was first passed a year ago. Councilmember Kelly further said voters should have a greater voice in the decision to extend COVID measures.

Read more about Councilmember Kelly’s accomplishments here.

#10 Jeff Branick

Jefferson County Judge | Beaumont, TX

County Judge Jeff Branick announced plans to double patient capacity at the Jefferson County Regional Infusion Center. The announcement came after the Omicron variant dramatically increased COVID-19 cases in Jefferson County. Judge Branick’s appeal to the state resulted in the Texas Department of Emergency Management promising to provide additional nurses to help increase the facility’s capacity. The Regional Infusion Center helps high-risk COVID positive patients survive the virus and alleviate strain on local healthcare facilities.

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